Wheeling Township elementary school officials will have some children attend schools outside their neighborhoods this fall to serve its growing bilingual student enrollment.

Wheeling Township Elementary District 21 officials recently said they’ll send kindergarten students with limited proficiency in English who were slated to attend Twain Elementary School in Wheeling to other schools in the system next year.

District officials will send as many as 48 kindergarten students from Twain to Tarkington and Field elementary schools.

Both schools are also in Wheeling.

“We didn’t have as many graduates from the bilingual programs this year,” said Robert F. Gerry, the district’s assessment director. “It’s an expanding effect.”

District officials project 24 kindergarten bilingual students from Twain are going to Tarkington.

Another 24 bilingual kindergarten students from Twain will attend Field for the 1999-2000 school year.

Twain, one of the district’s fastest-growing buildings, now has 169 students in its bilingual education classes.

Next year, that group at Twain is expected to increase by at least 40 students, Principal Gwen Gage said.

Overall, the district estimates the number of students with limited English proficiency to rise from 1,088 to 1,277 next year.

Gerry expects that some parents will be upset by the move.

Currently, Twain has 575 students enrolled and expects about that many next year, Gage said.

District 21 officials have said its enrollment of students in bilingual and English-as-a-Second Language is the fifth largest in Illinois.

Only larger school systems such as Elgin Area Unit District 46 and the Chicago Public Schools have greater numbers of bilingual students, District 21 officials said.

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